Mike and Mark stood outside the lift in the little hallway as soon as they heard it coming, and when the doors opened to reveal Danny and Diana, holding hands, there was a bit of a cheer, before both of them took turns to hug Diana.
“We’ve been sitting here with our fingers crossed for ages, and you’re back.” said Mike. “What happens now?”
Danny took a deep breath. “Change of plan. Diana and I will be going to her house for a while. She’s not making me take the train though. We have to ask Ted if he can drive us home. The three of you can take time off and I’ll keep you updated. I’ll need a credit card and some cash, and I’ll take some of the stuff you got yesterday, Mark. I’ll go and sort out what I need.”
He went into the bedroom and left the door open; Mike hugged Diana again and shook his head.
“I don’t know what’s gone on with you two, but you seem to have averted a crisis. I’ll put my number in your mobile if you like, and although I’m taking time off, I’m only ever a call away if you need anything. Don’t worry about Debbie; Mark seems to have that situation in hand.”
“Yes.” she said. “That was the thing that changed my mind about leaving. Danny was more worried about Debbie than himself.”
“You know that this is a big step for him, don’t you? I guess we’re all a bit to blame for running around after him; the monster was created long ago and we inherited him, but underneath he really is a lovely man who has spent most of his working life being pilloried and insulted by the media. Do you want me to carry on with your house sale?”
“Is that still a possibility? I suppose it would be easier to arrange if I’m – if we’re in the house?”
“Spend some time with Danny there. If you decide to come back to the Cotswold house after a day or so of him having to stand on his own two feet with only you to support him, you’ll have a much better idea of what he needs from a PA – and a partner.”
“That sounds as if you won’t be having much of a holiday.”
“I’ll be home with my husband, and unlike previous holidays, I won’t be worrying about the latest mess that Danny’s got himself into. I trust you, Diana. Danny hasn’t got anything on his calendar for the next week at the moment, but things will be ramping up soon, and we’ll all have plenty of work on our hands.”
“Will it be okay then if Ted takes us home?”
“I don’t think I’d be able to stop him, although your neighbours might object to the size of your transport. Go in and help Danny choose what to take – and Diana?”
“You may not need the swimsuits right now, but take some of your new things with you. Ted can take everything else back with him to the house. Jenny will be extremely pleased to have him to herself for a while.”
“Is she nice? Jenny?”
“You like Ted, don’t you?”
“Oh yes, he’s lovely, so kind.”
“Then you’ll get on well with Jenny too. She and Ted are both happy to be back in the UK, and have settled into their cottage. If Danny is serious about both of you coming to live there, they will be over the moon. Go and get packed and leave all the boring bits to me and Mark.”
Danny was sitting on the bed, looking through his packages, studiously avoiding any of Diana’s bags. He looked up at her, his face shadowed with that tiredness that she’d seen before, and that made her want to hold him tight, and take the pain away. She pulled him close, leaning down to kiss his head.
“I’m sorry,” he said. “I’m sorry for being such an arrogant fool and driving you away. I really thought I’d lost you then.”
“Well, you haven’t. Let’s just sort through these bags and see what we want to take with us now, and what we want sending on to the other house. There’s a bag of silliness for Mark to give to Debbie as well. Do you want to see what I’ve bought?”
“If you want to show me?”
“I do. We’ll leave the swimsuits in the bag for now though. You won’t need your dinner jacket at mine either. Casual dress only.”
“Most definitely. I put clean sheets on the bed before I left. I always do. It’s nice coming back from somewhere to a freshly made bed. Unless you can work your charms on my unsociable cat, it will just be the two of us.”
“I’ll have you all to myself?”
“I’d like to introduce you to Jane – and the cat. Let’s sort through this stuff and get packed; being away is making me feel homesick now.”
“It hasn’t all been bad, has it?” Danny asked, trying to choose which of his new polo shirts to pack.
“No, and you know it hasn’t,” she replied. “I just need to come back down to earth a bit, and Mike seems to think that it will do you the world of good too.”
“Oh, does he? I suppose I’ll have to get used to you lot ganging up on me.”
“You could sack us all?” Diana took out one of the dresses she had bought, and held it up against her. Danny grinned, and pulled her down on the bed next to him.
“One last thing, Danny. If John turns up at the house, you are not to lay a finger on him. Promise?”
“Can I tell him to go away?”
“Provided that you avoid using foul language. There is no need to stoop to his level.”
“You strike a hard bargain.”
“I sincerely hope so!”
She bounced off the bed and continued sorting out the bags she was taking home and those that were going on to Danny’s house. Very reluctantly, Danny started packing his own bags. This was the sort of thing that Mark – or his PA – did for him, but he felt that this was one time when he needed to do his own packing.
Diana took note of this, and smiled, trying not to look too smug.
Leaving Danny to his packing, she went downstairs to her room and finished tidying up and packing everything away. This time Danny’s boxers and Ben’s tee-shirt were placed in the top of her overnight bag, wrapped up in her nightshirt. She smiled as she placed his toothbrush alongside hers in her washbag; this was going to be a test of their relationship, but she felt safer than she had when she had stormed out of the suite earlier on.
She called Jane first; not wanting her to be thrown by the sight of the Bentley drawing up outside her house.
“Good job I got in extra milk and bread for you yesterday. How exciting! Do you want anything else?”
“A little favour. Can you move anything alcoholic out of my house and into yours? You can drink it as well if you like. Danny has had a problem with alcohol in the past. I’m asking him to put his high life on hold for a while, and the last thing I want is for him to fall off the wagon while he’s here.”
“I’ll put it out of sight in mine. What about you though? If you need a glass of something to fortify you, you can always nip next door. “
“Oh Jane, that makes him sound like a monster. He isn’t at all. He is the sweetest man I’ve ever met, and I’m hoping that this works out – for both of us.”
“You know where I am if you need me.”
“I will introduce you once we’ve unpacked. Thank you so much.”
Helen’s call was just an update, and to let her know that she and Danny would organise a visit once they’d moved to the Cotswold house. Helen was pleased, and almost as excited as Jane.
The texts to Ben and Caroline were short and sweet. They would always be welcome in their family home, but not this week because their mother and Danny wanted a few days of peace and quiet.
They replied. Exclamation marks from Ben, and kisses from Caroline.
Checking that she hadn’t forgotten anything, and taking a last rather nostalgic look at her hotel room, she picked up her bags and closed the door. She had a feeling that Danny might have taken advantage of her absence to get Mark to help with his packing, but that’s what he was paying him for after all.